The Monkees, that loveable group of teenagers that formed the hit TV show by the same name and spawned three Billboard # 1 Hot 100 singles, four #1 albums and millions of screaming fans returned to St. Louis for the first time in 18 years for a rousing concert at the Fabulous Fox Theatre.
A three minute intro showing screen tests for the band members was played on the large video screen on back of the stage prior to the band hitting the stage. The individual images of each Monkee invoked screams from women still smitten with the guys.
They hit the ground running immediately with one of their biggest hits in "Last Train to Clarksville" and promptly rotated between each member taking turns on lead vocals.
One of the endearing qualities of The Monkees (drummer/vocalist Micky Dolenz, guitarist/vocalist Michael Nesmith and guitarist/bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Peter Tork) was that they each took turns in the spotlight.
Even though Dolenz is the most charismatic and the logical choice to be stereotypical front man, he was just as comfortable allowing the spotlight to be on Nesmith and Tork.
Rolling along through over 30 songs (31 if you count the video of the late Davy Joney singing "Daddy's Song") The Monkees joked and toyed around (I mean, it IS The Monkees anyway) with each other and the crowd. They also showed their dynamic side.
Sure, they sang their biggest hits and crowd pleasing songs like "I'm A Believer", "Daydream Believer" and "Pleasant valley Sunday", among others, but they also dug deep into the "Headquarters" album for classics like "For Pete's Sake" and "Sunny Girlfriend".
Throughout the show videos of the boys were played as the band performed. A few times they retreated offstage as a three minute video played highlighting bloopers in the show, Davy Jones or just the groups classic antics and playful nature.
They were put together as an American TV version of the Beatles and have fought critics all along the way. "Hey, who wouldn't want to be (the Beatles)" Dolenz deadpanned during one part of the show, but they have more than proven that they have solidified themselves in American music history and have influenced many artists along the way.
With songs they wrote themselves like the smashing "Randy Scouse Git", "For Pete's Sake" and "Mary, Mary" The Monkees aren't just a band that relied on other people to write for them, but they did acknowledge they had great songwriters like Neil Diamond, Carol King, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.
The show itself was two hours of fun, nostalgia, memories, psychedelic trippyness and solid all around entertainment. What they left behind were more memories and an opportunity fulfilled for a few thousand fans to get to cheer one of their favorite bands one more time.
While they aren't a energetic as they used to be, they still put on a performance that filled the crowd with excitement and, surely made many in the audience feel younger again. Though, not all in the crowd was older, as many in their 20's could be found.
Sure they have gotten older, but they haven't grown up. And for that the world is a better place.
If you get a chance to see The Monkees don't take it for granted, check out this influencial band while you can.
The Monkees Setlist:
Last Train to Clarksville
Papa Gene's Blues
Your Auntie Grizelda
Sweet Young Thing
I'm a Believer
(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone (Paul Revere and the Raiders cover)
You Told Me
You Just May Be the One
The Girl I knew Somewhere
Shades of Grey
Randy Scouse Git
For Pete's Sake
Door Into Summer
Can You Dig it (Video of Davy Jones)
As We Go Along
Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?
Listen to the Band
Pleasant Valley Sunday